Rochester, NY – A gunman shot three of his family members in multiple targeted attacks on Wednesday before he engaged in a rolling gunfight with police (video below).
After the killer fatally shot the first person, he led police on a high-speed chase that ended when he crashed in the driveway of yet another family member’s home.
During the pursuit, officers exchanged gunfire with 39-year-old Terrell Blake, who was ultimately “fatally struck,” Rochester Deputy Police Chief LaRon Singletary confirmed, according to USA Today.
The shooter was the son of activist Joy Powell, who is currently serving a prison sentence for burglary, assault, and second-degree murder, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
Blake’s shooting spree began at approximately 9:40 a.m. on Oct. 10, when he fatally shot his former romantic partner at a residence, according to USA Today.
The 28-year-old unnamed woman was the mother of at least one of Blake’s children, police said.
Blake also shot and wounded the woman’s current beau, a 25-year-old man, at the same location.
The gunman then headed over to his son’s home in east Rochester, and shot him at approximately 10:20 a.m.
Blake’s son, who is in his 20s, managed to run to a nearby schoolyard, where he collapsed.
He identified his father as the man who shot him, police said.
Witnesses at both shooting locations told investigators that the gunman had been driving a white U-Haul van with Arizona license plates.
Officers spotted the van at approximately 11:15 a.m., as it was driving erratically across the city yet again.
According to Rochester Chief Deputy Michael Fowler, Blake fired a round at a Monroe County sheriff’s deputy who was out on foot, prompting the deputy and other officers to return fire, USA Today reported.
Blake also fired multiple rounds out of the van’s window during the pursuit, WROC reported.
A witness’s video captured the sounds of gunfire as multiple police cruisers chased after the U-Haul van in a residential neighborhood.
Police said that at least one patrol car was struck by bullets during the gunfight, USA Today reported.
Blake ultimately crashed into a vehicle at a home belonging to another family member, where he was fatally shot by police.
“He circled back to that area intending to do more harm to family members,” Chief Singletary said, according to USA Today.
Police recovered Blake’s firearm at the scene, WROC reported.
“Multiple officers fired shots,” Chief Deputy Fowler said, according to USA Today. “We’re working to determine who fired, where they were, and why they fired. This is going to be a long and complex investigation.”
None of the 16 Rochester police officers, nor the one Monroe County sheriff’s deputy, who were involved in the incident were injured, WHEC reported.
The 25-year-old man from the scene of the initial shooting sustained multiple gunshot wounds to his upper body, and remained hospitalized in critical but stable condition, WROC reported.
Blake’s son sustained non-life threatening injuries.
The gunman’s aunt, Juliet Blake-Levan, said that her nephew was a tattoo artist who struggled with mental illness, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
She told the news outlet that she called police as the incident was unfolding.
“I begged them. I pleaded with them,” Blake-Levan said. “I said ‘My nephew has mental illness. I know he’s going through a breakdown. Please don’t shoot my nephew.'”
“No matter what people think about TJ, he had family who loved him and he got cloudy,” she told WHEC. “I believe today he just couldn’t reach for that. He was raised in the church… no matter what, he’s just a lovable kid.”
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren praised law enforcement’s response to the incident during a press conference on Wednesday night.
“We believe that the suspect had every intention of killing many more people than he was able to, but because of the immediate response of the Rochester Police Department, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, and the New York State Police Department, this tragedy was brought to an end before it got worse,” Warren said.
The mayor said the reason more people weren’t injured during the attack “was because of the bravery and the attention that our law enforcement officials displayed today.”
“Our officers literally put themselves in the line of fire today to protect their community,” the mayor continued. “Understanding that death for other citizens and themselves was possible, they acted swiftly, and they acted certainly.”
“I’m also thankful that none of our law enforcement officers were injured,” she said.
Warren noted that a full investigation into the officer-involved shooting is underway, and that the public would be apprised of the findings once the investigation was complete.
Blake’s criminal history dated back to at least 1998, when he was accused of cutting his 18-year-old girlfriend’s hair with a sword, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
He was being sought for endangering the welfare of a child and harassment in relation to that incident, but it was unclear if he was ever convicted.
The victim, identified as Rosemary McFadden, later married Blake.
He was shot and seriously wounded in 2002 as he was leaving a convenience store, and Powell had told reporters at the time that Blake’s injuries would leave him paralyzed below the waist.
He ultimately recovered, but walked with a noticeable limp.
In 2004, Blake was placed on five years of probation after being convicted of attempted criminal possession of a forged instrument.
Within three years, he was back in custody for violating his probation sentence.
Blake was sentenced to three to six years in prison in 2010 following an additional criminal possession of a forged instrument conviction.
In 2014, while Blake was still in prison, his wife was granted a divorce.
Blake was released from the Livingston Correctional Facility in August of 2016.
You can see clips of the rolling gunfight below (scroll down for more.):